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Pew Research: Growing Social Media Role In U.S. Politics

The ‘Place For Politics’ May Be Social Media

For those readers who have followed CyberEsq since its inception, you know the tremendous emphasis I have placed on reporting research results from the Pew Research Center, particularly its “Internet & American Life Project.”  Print

In my opinion as an educator and information consumer, anyone interested in well-designed, objectively-executed research studies need look no further than the Pew Research Center.

Recently, I wrote an article for CyberStories at Storify.com discussing Pew’s recent findings on Americans’ use of social media for political activities.  Their important research can also be viewed here.  Pew’s findings suggest that social media’s role (and, presumably, influence) in American politics is rapidly growing.

CaptureDigitalPolitics

Mirroring our use of the Internet in general, American adults increasingly use social media for some type of political expression or activism.  Mobile devices as civics “hotspots,” if you will, also seem to be on the rise.

All Politics Are ‘Social’

What does this research say about Americans as political participants?  Like other aspects of our lives, Americans have grown accustomed to having electronic information in “real time.”  Whatever the information is that we seek, we want it, and we want it now.

And, we want to socialize with others about it, sharing out thoughts and opinions, our likes, pluses, statuses…all that good social media ‘stuff.’  Political participation seems almost like the perfect match for social media.

There is an old saying, oft-repeated at election time by journalists like Chris Matthews and others that “all politics are local.”  If Pew’s research holds true, will this tried-and-true statement be replaced by, “All politics are social?”  They are, aren’t they?

More fascinating, but perhaps daunting, problems may arise with how candidates or other stakeholders should conduct themselves in the new and more loosely organized social media universe.  And, of course, how do we explain all this to our kids, and hopefully teach them a thing or two?

Chances are, they will explain it to us.

CyberEsqOpEdAvatar-001Op-Ed originally published:  April 29 2013

Revised July 15, 2013

 

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